Friday, January 23, 2015

TGIF: What Are Libertarians Out to Accomplish?

When I was researching my recent article on Nathaniel Branden, who died last month, I came across an audio file of a talk Branden gave at the 1979 Libertarian Party national convention in Los Angeles....
[T]he talk, “What Happens When the Libertarian Movement Begins to Succeed?,” is remarkable in more than one respect....
As a psychologist, Branden was interested in how success might be received by libertarians.
Read it here.

Two Kinds of Income Inequality

Income inequality is back in the news, propelled by an Oxfam International report and President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address. The question is whether government needs to do something about this — or whether government needs to undo many things.
Measuring income inequality is no simple thing, which is one source of disagreement between those who think inequality is a problem and those who think it isn’t. But it is possible to cut through the underbrush and make some points clear.
We can identify two kinds of economic inequality, and let’s keep this in mind as we contemplate what, if anything, government ought to do.
Read it here.

Friday, January 16, 2015

The Open Society and Its Worst Enemies

Last week’s bloody events in Paris demonstrate yet again that a noninterventionist foreign policy, far from being a luxury, is an urgent necessity — literally a matter of life and death. A government that repeatedly wages wars of aggression — the most extreme form of extremism — endangers the society it ostensibly protects by gratuitously making enemies, some of whom will seek revenge against those who tolerate, finance, and symbolize that government and its policies.
Read it here.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Understanding the Paris Violence

Contrary to American officialdom and its stalwart “manufacturers of consent” — the intelligentsia and mainstream media — we will never comprehend the reasons for the slaughter of 17 innocent people in Paris as long as we ignore the history of Western violence against the Muslim world.
Read it here.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Missing the Point

I don't know what to make of people who seriously think that mocking both the powerful and powerless shows their even-handedness.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Je ne suis pas Charlie

Yes, there is no right not to be offended. But that doesn't mean there is a corollary obligation to offend.

Recommended reading: "Why I Am Not Charlie," by Scott Long;  "Trolls and Martyrdom: Je Ne Suis Pas Charlie," by Arthur Chu; and "In Solidarity with a Free Press: Some More Blasphemous Cartoons," by Glenn Greenwald.

Friday, January 09, 2015

TGIF: In Memory of the Charlie Hebdo Victims

Words can hardly convey the grief and disgust felt at Wednesday’s executions of the editor, cartoonists, and others — 10 people in all — at France’s satirical weekly newspaper, Charlie Hebdo. Two policemen also were killed, and 11 other people were wounded by the three fanatics who reportedly declared they were avenging the prophet Muhammad, founder of Islam.
Nothing can justify attacks on people whose only offense lay in their use of words and drawings to mock religion and politics. Charlie Hebdo freely satirized all three Abrahamic religions, as well as politicians of various stripes. No source of power was immune from the cartoonists’ and writer’s pens — which is not to imply that had Islam been the newspaper’s only target, the murders would have been less monstrous.
Read it here.